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New insights into shear effects on entrainment in convective boundary layers using conditional analysis

MPS-Authors
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Fodor,  Katherine
IMPRS on Earth System Modelling, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Fodor, K., & Mellado, J.-P. (2020). New insights into shear effects on entrainment in convective boundary layers using conditional analysis. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 77, 3227-3248. doi:10.1175/JAS-D-19-0345.1.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-35DF-3
Abstract
Conventional analysis has shown that strong wind shear enhances the entrainment buoyancy flux in the convective boundary layer. By conditioning the entrainment zone into regions of turbulent (i.e., strongly vortical) and nonturbulent (i.e., weakly vortical) flow, some unexpected aspects of this process are revealed. It is found that turbulent regions contribute the most to the entrainment buoyancy flux, but that as wind shear increases, the magnitude of the buoyancy flux in turbulent regions remains approximately constant, or even decreases, despite substantially stronger buoyancy fluctuations. The reason is that the correlation between buoyancy and vertical velocity fluctuations decreases with increasing wind shear, to the extent that it compensates the stronger buoyancy fluctuations. In free convection, this correlation is high because the vertical velocity is mainly determined by the buoyancy force acting in the same direction. Under strong shear conditions, buoyancy is no longer the only external source of vertical velocity fluctuations and their correlation consequently decreases. Hence, shear enhancement of the buoyancy flux in the entrainment zone is primarily due to an increase of the turbulent area fraction, rather than a change of flux inside the turbulent regions. © 2020 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses)